Monday, April 28, 2008

Scotts Miracle-Gro Recalls Pesticides After Rogue Employee Discovered

Lawn Chemicals Were Improperly Labeled and Not EPA-Registered

This week the EPA has ordered Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. to stop selling and distributing two pesticide products that have not been registered with the EPA. The pesticides are "Garden Weed Preventer + Plant Food" and "SLS Fertilizer With .28 Halts," and they are in common use on lawns.

Why? According to the government, the products were not registered with the EPA, and carry invalid EPA registration numbers. This means the agency has not had a chance to review any information about the safety of the products.

Scotts is currently setting up a way for collecting any sold product, and the EPA has issued a stop order for all retailers to cease distribution. To determine if you already bought one of these items, look for these numbers: 62355-4 (garden weed prevention products) and 538-304 (SLS fertilizer). Regulators advise you to then store any product in a cool, dry place and contact Scotts or your retail outlet. You can call the EPA at 888-838-1304.

How did this happen? According to AP reports, the chairman of Scotts, Jim Hagedorn, has said the company has recently learned that a now-fired employee had "deliberately circumvented company policies, caused invalid product registration forms to be submitted to federal and state regulators and then hid those actions from co-workers and manager."

Scotts is reportedly investigating the employee's actions, and has also issued a recall for fertilizer products sold under the "Bonus S Max" and "Turf Builder Plus 2 Max" names. Although those products had been issued proper EPA registrations, it turns out the packaging was printed incorrectly.

Hagedorn says the company will be taking steps to tighten up its internal procedures, and is looking to hire a consulting firm to review policies.

Although risk to consumers seems low with this recall, the very fact that unregistered pesticides were sold for some time should give another reason to use the most natural, organic treatments possible on lawns. It's obvious that there are major cracks in our regulatory framework.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Shocking Space Debris Images

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ, German only) today published an article on space junk. The shocking image is an eye opener. Humankind continues to repeat the mistake of strewing waste into common spaces (no pun intended) without a thought to the consequences, leaving costs we don't want to pay today for the future generations. The FAS article spurred our curiosity, leading us to find even more spectacular video and potential solutions to the problem (overleaf).

The ESA Space Debris Accumulation video depicts the tragic build up of space debris from 1957 through 2000. According to ESA's resident space debris expert, Walter Flury, the 10,000 pieces of space litter catalogued at the end of 2003 break into the following categories:

  • 41% -- miscellaneous fragments

  • 22% -- old spacecraft

  • 13% -- mission related objects

  • 7% -- operational spacecraft

  • 7% -- rocket bodies
Doing the math, that is 93% pure junk and only 7% useful satellites circling the earth. More disturbing, 50,000 uncatalogued objects larger than 1 cm (the largest size which modern shielding can likely deflect) are estimated to be spinning through space at hypervelocities.

Real Damage from Space Debris

So what, you say? There is a lot of space in Space...the images probably make it appear worse than it really is. Statistically, destructive collisions with operational satellites are predicted on average once every ten years. Nonetheless, as the image at left shows, the risk of damage is real. This hole over 1 cm in diameter penetrates the Hubble high gain antenna dish (the unit continued working in spite of the damage). The windows on the Space Shuttle have been replaced 80 times due to impacts with objects of less than 1 mm. And costly systems to track and issue daily emails warning of potential impacts must be maintained. The future impacts must also be considered. Space debris would be a severe hindrance to space-based solar projects. Last, but not least, there is the risk of space junk raining down on us: space junk hitting an Oklahoma woman is one of's top ten most memorable pieces of space junk .

Graveyards in Space

So what can be done? Guidelines do exist, published by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC). The guidelines limit creation of debris in normal operations, and promote "disposal" either by deorbiting junk back towards earth, where it usually burns up in the atmosphere, or by putting space junk into "graveyard" orbits above the commercially important low-Earth and geostationary orbit zones. But more needs to be done. Some experts advocate for regulations. Live Science takes it a step farther, speculating on giant NERF balls, space lasers and cosmic collection vehicles among other imaginative ways to tackle the growing problem.

Via ::Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and European Space Agency

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Passing Along Items of Information

Clean Air Fair
Stop by the Clean Air Fair on Wednesday, April 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Battelle Plaza in the Arena District (corner of Front St and Nationwide Blvd). Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about transportation options, respiratory health and energy conservation from local organizations during your lunch break. All activities are free and open to the public.

The event will feature:
• Ice cream and music thanks to CD101.
• Hybrid cars thanks to Clean Fuels Ohio and Central Ohio Toyota Dealers.
• Great raffle prizes, including a new bike thanks to Cyclist Connection; and gift certificates thanks to Buca di Beppo, Chipotle, Consider Biking/Restoration Bicycle, Cotters Restaurant, Earth Share of Ohio, Frog Bear & Wild Boar Bar, Gordon Biersch, Max & Erma's, Rise & Dine Restaurant, and V Power Yoga.
• 15 exhibitors, including organizations representing the health, environmental and transportation sectors—emphasizing the importance of clean air.
• Clean Air Awards presentation at Noon, awarding three local businesses/individuals for their dedication to reducing air pollution in central Ohio. To view those winners visit
• A press conference following the Clean Air awards from The Breathing Association, announcing their new Clear the Air Initiative.


401 and 404 Permit Applications
401 and 404 permit applications have been filed by NP Limited Partnership to construct a 20.6 acre mixed office/retail/hotel development located at the intersection of Worthington Road and Polaris Parkway in the City of Westerville. This would affect the water quality of unnamed tributaries and adjacent wetlands of Alum Creek. Written comments on the 401 permit application are due by May 4, 2008 and comments on the 404 permit application are due April 21, 2008. Click here to view the entire MORPC Public Notice Summary (Army Corps of Engineers Public Notice Number LRH-2006-115-SCR).


Volunteers needed for Riverfest
Riverfest is May 31 at Genoa Park behind COSI. Volunteers are needed for set-up, operating different stations (canoe, paddle boat, welcome table, etc.).

Volunteers are also needed for the stream clean up in preparation for Riverfest on May 24. Meet at Confluence Park Restaurant at 10:00 a.m. All necessary items (trash grabbers, gloves, etc.) will be provided. Lunch will be served afterwards.

If you are interested in helping with either (or both), please contact Leslie Strader at


Rain Garden Seminar
Sustainable Grandview is hosting a rain garden seminar on April 29. Visit for more information.


Sustainability Now! Strategies for Personal and Community Action
May 16 & 17, 2008

An action packed conference on living in a more sustainable way and what communities are doing to promote sustainability. For up-to-date information and to register, visit:

Schedule Preview

May 16: An Evening with Jim Merkel, 7:00 p.m.
Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center
2201 Fred Taylor Drive

Join Us for an Evening with Jim Merkel, author of Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth. Jim will share with us his joyful personal journey to live in a more sustainable way.

May 17: Full Day of Interactive Workshops on Personal and Community Sustainability, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Agricultural Administration Building, OSU Campus
2120 Fyffe Road

Over 20 engaging sessions on personal and community action for sustainable living including sessions on local foods, alternative transportation, and OSU's sustainability initiatives. For an up-to-date list of topics and sessions, visit: .

Lunch provided by Black Creek Bistro, Columbus, OH. A restaurant committed to fresh, local and sustainable. Stay tuned to the website for an enticing preview of the menu for the day!

The Central Ohio Youth Summit on the Environment will be held concurrently with Sustainability Now! This Summit is for youth interested in the environment and in affecting change in their community. If you are in high school and are interested in meeting others passionate about this topic, developing your leadership talents and learning more about how to affect sustainable change this workshop is for you! To apply, visit: Don't wait to apply for this unique opportunity - a limited number of seats are available.

Share this with others interested in learning strategies for personal and community sustainability.


Volunteer to Plant Trees
Sponsored by Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District in partnership with Plain Township, New Albany-Plain Local School District and area businesses, meet at Bevelhymer Park on April 26, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm (rain or shine). For directions and more information go to


4th Annual Rail/Transit Legislative Summit

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Columbus Downtown YWCA
Huntington Hall
65 South 4th Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Taras Szmagala, Executive Director of Governmental Affairs; Greater Cleveland RTA •Public Transportation Needs and Funding Annual Update

Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, Director; Ohio Department of Development •Transportation and Ohio's Economic Future

Matt Dietrich, Executive Director; Ohio Rail Development Commission •Ohio Hub Plan Update

Featured Luncheon Speaker:

Frank J. Busalacchi, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Transportation •National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission and the Midwest Regional Rail Compact

State House and Senate visits will be scheduled for attendees after our luncheon speaker.

Members: $50; Non-Members: $75. Fee for Non-Members includes a one year membership to ALL ABOARD OHIO! Up to $25 for members and up to $50 for non-members fee is tax deductible.

Registration deadline is Wednesday, April 23rd. Please Call 614-228-6005 or go to for more information.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How Green Is My Marketing?

Nielsen Online recently released findings which finds that protecting the environment has become increasingly important to consumers, with online buzz around sustainability growing 50 percent in 2007. While early in the year discussion was dominated by the topic of global warming, bloggers progressively addressed a wider variety of green-related issues, with a particular emphasis on personal action such as recycling, avoiding excess packaging, and carpooling.

Jessica Hogue, research director, Nielsen Online, said "...consumers are becoming increasingly vocal online about the issue of sustainability... Blogger attention to... issues like pollution, toxins and sustainable agriculture reveal an important intersection between personal health and environmental wellness."

Top 10 Sustainability Topics for 2007


Buzz Trend:
Increasing or Declining

Global Warming/Climate Change


Renewable Energy/Alternative Fuels


Resource Conservation




Carbon Emissions










Transportation (hybrids, carpooling)


Source: Nielsen Online, BuzzMetrics

Note: Topics are ranked by number of messages among sustainability bloggers from 1/1/07 to 12/31/07, with the Buzz trend reflecting change from 1/1/07 to 12/31/07.

Discovery Channel's TreeHugger led the top sustainability blogs for 2007

Top 5 Sustainability Blogs for 2007


Sustainability Messages







The Oil Drum


The Alternative Consumer


Source: Nielsen Online, BuzzMetrics

Not only are consumers looking for practical steps they can take to reduce personal environmental impact, but they are also holding corporations accountable for action and results, says the report. Bloggers are quick to condemn "greenwashing" - when they suspect companies misrepresent their environmental impact with aggressive PR campaigns - as spurious attempts to be "green." Consumers expect consistency in action and authentic and transparent messaging.

Top 5 Greenwashing Topics

Greenwashing Topic

Percent of Discussion

Contradictory Actions


Incongruous with Company/Industry


False/Misleading Comments


Seek Regulated Oversight


General Suspicion


Source: Nielsen Online, BuzzMetrics

The Nielsen Online analysis showed that similar environmental initiatives can provoke different consumer responses depending on a company's reputation and history. In the retail sector, says the study, while Wal-Mart and Target both introduced reusable shopping bags, some consumers voiced skepticism towards Wal-Mart because of its association with environmental, labor, and health care issues.

Hogue said "When it comes to the environment, consumers are insisting on both transparency and consistency from the corporations they patronize... Consumer support depends on action as well as perceived sincerity and commitment."

For more information, please visit Nielsen Online here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

This Spring, Recycle Your T-Shirts in Style

Barneys, Loomstate and Sundance Channel Make it Easy

A fresh take on recycling is coming to all Barneys New York stores this spring. The iconic, upscale retailer is partnering with Robert Redford's Sundance Channel (which is kicking off season 2 of "The Green" programming) and celebrated green fashion line Loomstate in an initiative that's just in time for Earth Day.

Starting April 13, consumers can drop off old t-shirts at all Barneys locations nationwide, including the seven flagship stores in New York City, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, San Francisco and Las Vegas, as well as the two smaller regional stores and fifteen Barneys CO-OP stores. (Three new stores are also scheduled to open in 2008.) Loomstate will then re-dye, re-style and re-print the used threads to create a limited edition T-shirt collection, which will be sold at Barneys during the next holiday season.

Those who contribute a T-shirt will score a 20% discount on women's Loomstate for Barneys Green and men's Loomstate gear from April 13 to the 27th. Designed by Rogan Gregory and Scott Hahn, Loomstate has made a name for itself by delivering cutting-edge, yet relaxed, fashion based on eco-friendly materials and processes.

Proceeds from the program will be donated to the pioneering 1% For the Planet initiative, and are reportedly earmarked to benefit Organic Exchange, a group that is working to promote the burgeoning organic cotton industry.

A pair of chic VIP events are set to mark the launch of the program in New York (April 22) and Los Angeles (April 15). Music will be provided by up-and-coming British singer Kate Nash and She & Him, respectively, and California cocktail sippers will get the chance to hobnob with Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.

click here to read article on

Monday, April 7, 2008

BECKY J. photography, LLC capturing a slice of your life

April 2008
Volume 1, Issue 2
What makes ME stand out from the crowd? I’ve spent the past few weeks asking myself that very question. Why would YOU choose ME to photograph a slice of your life?

Here’s a short list of some of the companies and services that I choose time and time again: Target -“great design at affordableprices.” Giant Eagle– yeah, I admit, some of the food prices are higher but the gasoline discount totally rocks - I received a $1 off per gallon today! And, of course, there’s Dr. King - our family physician. This one’s pretty easy – it’s all about trust, trust, and more trust. For me (and probably you, too) it really boils down to this: 1. Great products 2. Affordability 3. Client appreciation and 4. Trust
Yes, I know, other photographers can say the same thing – but wait, there’s one more reason…
you hire ME because you know you’ll “ooh and aah” all the way through your proofing session!
Reason 5. The wow factor
It starts with an ooh and ahh, then there’s a slight flutter in your stomach, then the smile on your face, and then you say…”what a great picture!” (The wow factor gets ‘em every time!)

I Have a Problem
I’m as “inquisitive” as the next person so I’ve been surfing the Web for other women photographers with cool websites. Know what I discovered? They all have a blog! In fact,everyone has a blog now. Well, alrighty then…I want one, too! So I called my fabulous IT guy (aka “my main man Mike”) to get right on it!

That was a few months ago and, so far, I have yet to run out of things to say or find ways to amuse myself. But, I think I’m on Post #15 now and I’m getting a little tired of so many one-sided conversations. If you’re nosy too, you are more than welcome to hop on my blog to see
what swirls around in my head every hour of the night and day. I don’t even have a good excuse
anymore when Mike says, "Are you blogging again?” Ok, so I have a problem.
Somebody, please, check out my website and click on the link to my blog – the first person to post a comment will receive a complimentary creative session for up to four people just for keeping me company!
Click below to visit my website and my blog!